How Many Times US Government Shutdowns Have Happened?

A shutdown of the U.S. government could happen as soon as tomorrow. The last shutdown occurred 18 years ago in 1995. How many times has the United States government shutdown before?

The U.S. government has shutdown 17 times, and if it shuts down on October 1st, it will be the 18th time.

NBC’s Pete Williams has a nice chart (listed below) detailing previous shutdowns.

Katy Steinmetz over at Time’s Swampland blog has a great piece about what to tell your kids about the government shutdown. Probably good for many adults too. From Katy’s article:

“If the government shuts down, the most important things will still get done. Soldiers and other members of the military who help protect America will still keep us safe. The Post Office will still deliver letters. Air traffic controllers will still help planes land safely at airports. And your old or disabled relatives who get things called “Social Security checks” will still have money for bingo.

But many services will stop. The government won’t issue as many documents that allow foreign people to visit our country, poor people might not get food stamps to buy groceries, and governments scientists won’t be monitoring the spread of disease. Places that belong to the federal government, like national parks, will have to close during the shutdown. So that long car trip to Yosemite that your family was planning next weekend may be off.”


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